Almost Fearless: Family Vacation to Lake Tahoe & Yosemite

Summer flew by and now we are knee-deep in school, sports, dance, cheer and the general busy-ness of life with kids. I finally got a chance to pull all my family photos together from our big summer trip into one blog post.  For those of you who have known us for years, you know that I keep all my family photos and stories on our family blog. Then once a year, I print that blog into a book. It looks like a coffee table book  and it is full of all the photos and stories of our family - for each year. So as I was compiling that - I thought I would share our trip here with you too! I hope it helps inspire you to take your kids to California or somewhere 'out-doorsy' soon!

My husband loves to plan trips. This one was a two-parter. (Lake Tahoe and then Yosemite National Park.) So, first we flew to Sacramento and drove to Tahoe. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Tahoe which is about a 15-20 minute drive from the actual lake. After checking in, we drove down to the lake and explored Kings Beach. Lake Tahoe has 70 miles of shoreline and the water is a brisk 55 degrees. The girls jumped right in!

After everyone was cold enough, we headed back to the resort for the heated pool, fancy cabana chairs, bocci ball and smores.

For dinner, we took the Gondola from the Ritz down to North Star for pizza at Rubicon Pizza Co. 

The next day, we were up and at em early for Emerald Bay State Park.  Everywhere on Lake Tahoe is amazing. This might be one of the best spots. We hiked about 1.5 miles down to the shoreline. Then the girls played in the water and we rented kayaks. We took the kayaks to Fannette Island and explored the small tea house and Eagle Falls. 

 And no day is complete without some pool time at the Ritz.

The next day, we went to Chimney Beach (upon recommendation of our bartender at the resort). It was off the beaten path and pretty secluded. Much quieter and 'local approved' than Sand Harbor. The water looked like it was from the Carribean. We stayed there all day- swam, ate a picnic, climbed rocks and relaxed.

After we got back to the resort and swam some more, we drove to Kings Beach for dinner. We ate at Jason's Grille- it was delicious! 

One of our best days in Tahoe we woke up and hung out at the resort. I went on a really tough run-- which is my favorite kind. 

Then we headed to the Nevada side of the Lake and rented a boat. It is such a big lake and so cold. But so amazingly beautiful- it literally takes your breath away. 

For dinner, we went to Truckee for dinner at Marg's Taco Bistro (best tacos ever!) and then ice cream at Bud's Old Fashioned Fountain.

 We got up the next day and headed to our resort near Yosemite. Yosemite is a huge national park and there are only a handful of resorts near it. Jeff booked us at the Tenaya Lodge.  We had our own cabin- that had two bedrooms, one bath, and a great porch. We decided to go hiking right away and found a trail that led us to a secluded water fall.

 We had pizza that night at Me-N-Ed's in Oakhurst. The thing to know about staying near Yosemite is that you do have to drive a bit to get anywhere. After all that hiking, pizza and beer hit the spot! We went to bed and woke up super early to beat the crowds into Yosemite. In the summer, Yosemite is super popular, so you have to be 'ahead of the game' if you don't want to get stuck waiting in a line of cars for hours.

We started at the canyon floor and visited the Lower Yosemite Falls, saw Bridal Veil, and got a great view of El Capitan and Half Dome. There is a shuttle bus that takes you from spot to spot, because if you are lucky enough to grab a parking spot-- you don't want to loose it. Our big hike for that day was the Mist Trail, up to Vernal Falls. This is a tough hike! Super steep up hill, which turns into 600 granite steps that are wet, narrow and crowded. The fact that one of us did not fall off and die still amazes me!

Once we got to the top, we marveled at the views, ate snacks, and fed the chipmunks. The hike down was just as difficult (if not more!) than the trip up. We felt quite accomplished for doing it!

 Despite being hungry and tired, we decided to press on and do one more hike-- the one to Mirror Lake. This was flat terrain and despite our heavy feet, we made it to the water and splashed around a bit.

We ate lunch in the park, which was 'ok'. The food was pricey, fried and not so fresh. It was SO crowded. After lunch we made our way out of the park, sitting in traffic for 2+ hours.
We cleaned up and rested in our cabin then went a local place in Oakhurst that night for dinner, Southgate Brewery. The decor was modern and the food was good.

For our final day in Yosemite, we decided to skip the crowds and head up to Glacier Point. We were up there early and began what we thought was going to be an easy hike to Sentinel Dome. The thing about hiking-- is when 'they' say easy. Always be prepared for hard! This thing was uphill and tough. But the more difficult the hike is... the better the views.

We ended up on top of a rocky dome, overlooking the entire valley. This is by far the best view of Yosemite. We felt like we were on the edge of the world, about to slip off at any moment. It was awesome.

It was such an amazing trip. Thank you Jeff for planning it! And thank you GOD for making a big, beautiful world for us to explore.

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